Cuyahoga County’s Democratic leadership has battled state Republicans over voters’ access to the ballot. Last night, the county moved to better arm itself in that fight. ideastream’s Joanna Richards reports.
Voters will decide this fall whether Cuyahoga County should make protecting citizens’ voting rights a fundamental mission of county government.
County Council’s Democratic majority voted to include the charter amendment on the November ballot. The three Republican council members voted against the measure.
Supporters, led by County Executive Ed FitzGerald, say it would strengthen the county’s legal standing in court as it defends its own rules on ballot access.
"This is our way of saying this is one of our home-rule powers. We take it seriously. We’ve put it in our charter," FitzGerald said.
He is trying to unseat Governor Kasich in the November elections, and says Republican restrictions on early voting hours and the power of counties to distribute absentee ballots are attempts to suppress likely Democratic voters, especially minorities.
Republicans have argued Ohioans have plenty of opportunities to vote, and such measures are aimed at creating uniform rules throughout the state.